As a U.S. representative and more recently a U.S. senator, Rob Portman of Ohio opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage. His conservative principles were part of why he was among the Republicans considered to be Mitt Romneys running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
But in an op-ed Friday in the Columbus Dispatch, he wrote: I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldnt deny them the opportunity to get married.
What changed his mind will be unsurprising to many: Portmans 21-year-old son, Will, is gay. Will, a student at Yale, told his parents in February 2011.
And so Portman the father has seen what Portman the elected official did not how his defense of traditional marriage impacts homosexuals who love just as deeply and feel the pain of discrimination. He becomes the latest among us who learns simply by knowing someone, be it a family member or friend or coworker, who is gay.
Its why polls in recent years have shown a significant shift in public opinion toward homosexuality. Its why voters in four states last November said yes to same-sex marriage the first four states in which voters, not just lawmakers, did so.
Some decry those victories as they will Portmans shift as further evidence of societys moral unraveling. We think its the opposite.
We think Americans are realizing, one by one, how much of our values are shared no matter whom we love.
On male child sex abuse: Courage, encouragement
In Fridays paper, yet another face of male childhood sex abuse was revealed: Dr. Jason Peck, a Fort Mill psychiatrist who says he was assaulted by a neighbor when he was 12. He has filed suit against the alleged perpetrator, the former head of an international fraternal and service organization who has denied the charge.
Pecks decision to step forward years after his alleged abuse, and his decision to leave his practice and get the therapy he needs, is a reminder of how painful such abuse is to acknowledge and deal with. His admission also illustrates the difficult truth about child sex abuse: It is no respecter of socio-economic class, race or education level. Perpetrators and victims fall into all categories. One in five males is sexually abused before age 18.
Peck said he felt compelled to speak out after the Jerry Sandusky scandal unfolded at Penn State in 2011. Who better, he thought, to put a victims face on such horror than a doctor married with two children, a nice house and a solid reputation?
Sadly, too many men who were sexually abused as children suffer in silence. They need not. If the charges are true, Peck took a courageous step. We must help and encourage others to do so as well.
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